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Mastering Your Digital Camera

Lesson 1 of 51

Buttons, Dials and Switches: What This Course is All About

Chris Weston

Mastering Your Digital Camera

Chris Weston

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Lesson Info

1. Buttons, Dials and Switches: What This Course is All About
In the first lesson, meet the instructor and see why Chris suggests focusing on just six camera controls that help adjust exposure, focus, color, and quality.


Lesson Info

Buttons, Dials and Switches: What This Course is All About

My father used to be a pilot in the Royal Air Force and used to fly one of these, an English electric Cambra photo reconnaissance plane on one of the perks used to get us the son of a pilot. Was it? Every now and again, you get to sit in the cockpit of your father's airplane. And so, with the age of four or five, I found myself sitting in my father's flight seat, and I remember being mesmerized by all the buttons, dials and switches because they're everywhere. They're all around the down here. They're up here directly in front, over here, to the side. And I remember saying to my dad, who was standing just down there with his head poking through the hatch, said, Dad, how do you know what all these buttons, dials and switches do? And he said, Well, son, to be honest, I don't In fact, there are just six styles you really need to know when they're the six. That's it directly in front of you. If you can read them, you can fly any airplane in the world, the rest of them, he said. Well, I don...

't know what they're all four. But if any of them start flashing, then I chat to the Navigator in the back here and he goes and gets the manual. We look it up and we do whatever it tells us to do. So what's this got to do with photography? Well, exactly the same thing could be said about your digital camera is full of buttons, dials and switches, and most of them you'll probably never, ever use. There are just six functions on a camera that are critical to taking a photograph, and there the six things that this course is all about. They cover the key areas of exposure focus, color and quality. And over the course of the next 40 plus video tutorials, I take you through the why, how and what of everything you need to know. By the end of the course, you'll maybe not be able to fly a camera aircraft, but I guarantee you'll be able to take a great photograph with your digital camera. So what are the digital cameras equivalent to the six dials in my dance cam projet In this course, I'm going to reveal the truth behind the question of whether to shoot J. Peg or raw on, tell you how to best set up the camera. Depending on your choice, I'll explain how white Balance replaces a need for some of those old filters stuffed in the back of your camera bag and teach you how to use it creatively. I explained the good, the bad and the ugly of I s O and help you master the dark out of exposure with an in depth but down to earth explanation of meeting modes and exposure modes on showing you tried and tested techniques for dealing with any lighting scenario, however challenging it may be, then I'm going to take you through focusing techniques, explaining when to use which focus mode on unraveling the mysteries of predictive focus and focus tracking so that you never miss another shot. And finally, since photography is really all about light and storytelling, I'm going to show you how you can use light in a creative way and choose a lens that reveals the scene and subject in the way that you imagine it to be. Now you'll also find some bonus material quick guys to capturing perfectly some of the most popular compositions and subjects as well as the stories and techniques behind some of my favorite and most successful shots. Along with the many full HD video tutorials, the company course notes, tip sheets and suggested exercises will ensure that when you've completed, the whole course will be well on your way to mastering the digital camera and have taken the first steps in becoming a master photographer.

Class Description


  • Set up your camera with confidence
  • Better understand shutter speed, aperture, and ISO
  • Capture perfect exposures in camera
  • Get sharp, focused images quickly
  • Understand white balance and the difference between RAW and JPEG
  • Quickly and confidently capture images “in the moment”
  • Become a better photographer by building an understanding of basic photography techniques


CreativeLive is partnering with Chris Weston to offer you his Complete Photography Master Course.

Turn terms like aperture, shutter speed and ISO from a bunch of obscure photography jargon to a toolset that you can easily manipulate to capture great photos. Led by landscape photographer Chris Weston, this class covers everything beginners need to know to master photography basics from exposure to focus.

Turn that camera dial off of auto and learn how to properly expose a photograph. With a few basic camera settings, get the most image quality and the best colors from your mirrorless or DSLR camera. Then, master focus modes and techniques for sharp photographs.

Learn the basics of photography in a series of short, memorable lessons. Chris' straight-forward teaching style is great for newbies that find the task of learning photography daunting, while the to-the-point lessons make it possible to spend just a few minutes a day mastering your camera with easy photography tips and techniques.


  • Beginner photographers
  • First time DSLR or mirrorless camera users
  • Any photographer that wants to get off automatic mode to shoot better photos


Named one of the world's most influential wildlife photographers, Chris Weston takes a contemporary approach to photography. After launching his career in 2001, the Fujifilm ambassador's images have graced the pages of top publications like BBC, The Times, Outdoor Photography, Practical Photography, and Digital Photography. As a photography educator, Chris has written over 20 photography books, along with leading photo tours and online workshops.


mark jacobson

What a marvelous course! What a marvelous teacher! When I went to college, my father would always ask me about my professors, more than the courses themselves. He was passionate about learning and although too busy with earning an income to go beyond an undergrad degree, continued to read 50 books a year. I still remember how he'd get almost visibly excited when I'd tell him about some special professor who taught with such enthusiasm and, more than just passion, evident delight and joy in the subject. 'Ah they're the best, son. How wonderful you have such a teacher." Well, he passed away decades ago but if he were still around I'd get a kick out of telling him about Chris Weston, the 'Prof' of this course. He's one of the very special ones: a teacher who's loved and lived his vocation--his avocation--since he was a boy--and still is as excited about it now as he was then. The result: a course that seems to be more a labor of love--of pouring far more energy and thought into the details then one typically finds in these courses--than anything else. Bravo Chris! I'm already on to your next one.


Chris is an amazing instructor who dissects theory giving amazing analogies that bring concepts to life. I have rarely been able to sit through most video course for more than a half-hour but watched this one from beginning to end. A good refresher course if you've been away from the camera for awhile or there are some concepts that still illude you. I highly recommend this course and look forward to watching his others. Thank you for the clarity and great explanations.

Sky Bergman

This was an amazing class. I have looked at a number of basic photography classes. This one was by far the best I have seen. Chris is an exceptional teacher. He breaks things down into digestible information and then inspires you to be creative. Thank you!